The “American Idol” auditions are over!
Everybody do a happy dance!
Wednesday (Feb. 8) night’s episode begins Hollywood Week, the most intense Hollywood Week in the history of humanity. Or somesuch. Click through for the highs and lows…
8:00 p.m. ET. Most. Intense. Hollywood. Week. EVER.
8:01 p.m. GET READY!
8:01 p.m. It’s morning in America for… some contestant. And another contestant. Apparently ever “American Idol” Hollywood contestant, all 309 of them, has the same mother waking them up.
8:02 p.m. I don’t know who any of these people are. Other than Phillip Phillips, who I crowned the next “American Idol” two full weeks ago.
8:03 p.m. Half of the contestants are performing on the first night.
8:03 p.m. Steven Tyler reciting “Courage” from “The Wizard of Oz” as a pep talk is awesome.
8:04 p.m. Contestants will sing a cappella in groups of 10.
8:04 p.m. This group includes Overrated Johnny Keyser and Underrated Heejun Han. Johnny performs first. He’s corny as heck, but if I close my eyes and down watch the microphone waving and cheeseball grin, he can definitely sing. He gets “Amens” from Randy. Heejun is nervous, just as he was at his audition. He’s pessimistic about his competition. Everybody is so pretty and Heejun doesn’t think he fits. His rendition of “How I Am Supposed To Live Without You” is a bit nasally and shrill, but I still love the disconnect between his voice and his nerdy, awkward persona.
8:08 p.m. Half of all the contestants performing today have to go home. Heejun and Johnny are safe. Of course they are. Duh-doy.
8:09 p.m. Elise Testone sounds pretty good, but looks a wee bit leathery. Baylie Brown is both gorgeous and very talented (albeit a bit bleat-y). Hallie Day is darned talented, especially if we don’t have to cry about her triumph-over-adversity story again. My auditory enjoyment isn’t enhanced with tears. They’re all through. Duh.
8:15 p.m. “This week is filled with stress, anxiety, a true roller-coaster of emotions,” Ryan Seacrest observes.
8:15 p.m. But Jen Hirsh isn’t nervous. Or she wasn’t nervous at her first audition. Now she’s nervous. She’s also worried about fidgeting. Her version of “Up to the Mountain” is nicely pure and unaffected. Ooops. Spoke too soon. Too much at the end. She doesn’t appear to fidget much.
8:17 p.m. Lauren Gray was the last person we saw in the auditions and she doesn’t want to leave our TV now, singing well past Randy’s “Oh, please stop” signal. Randy wasn’t trying to stop Lauren because she was bad, of course. They’re both advancing. So far? No heartbreak.
8:18 p.m. OK. Time for some heartbreak: Heather Youmans? Bad. Sascha something? Awful and achy-breaky. Candice Russell? Icky and singing in a weird key.
8:22 p.m. Did somebody just step off the stage? If that person is OK, that’s gonna be hilarious. If that person is not OK, it clearly will not be hilarious. I need proper warning beforehand. I’m only human.
8:23 p.m. Back to the intensity.
8:24 p.m. Steven’s giving a pep-talk to the contestants. He wants to see better. Surely Phillip Phillips will deliver. Unfortunately, Phillip doesn’t have his guitar for this audition and without the guitar, he’s kinda twitchy and not nearly as pleasant to listen to. In the same group, we have Reed Grimm doing an amusingly jazzy version of “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket.” I’m not sure he knows what he’s singing, but he’s hilariously hammy. And we’ve got got Travis Orlando, who I vaguely remember from last season. Coming after the roughness delivered by Phillip and Reed, Travis is refreshingly smooth, melodic and polished. The verdict is in: Phillip and Reed are advancing, but Travis is not. That’s confusing. I mean, I get that Phillip and Reed advanced for cumulative reasons and you can’t eliminate them for a cappella performances.
8:28 p.m. We’re losing more than just Travis. Bye, Ramiro Garcia, who was born WITHOUT EARS. And farewell, Wolf Hamlin, whose name is WOLF.
8:33 p.m. Day 2, y’all!
8:33 p.m. I don’t know who Adam Brock is, but that’s because I missed Pittsburgh. He seems funny. I may like him. He’s singing “Walking in Memphis” and he’s singing it well. And the world needs a new Marc Cohn now more than ever.
8:36 p.m. It’s Jim Carrey’s Daughter. I like her because she has Jim Carrey Teeth. And she makes J-Lo feel old. She’s very consciously trying to keep her eyes open after the judges criticized her performance in San Diego. Or at least she is at first. They’re closed by the end. Bad Jim Carrey’s Daughter.
8:37 p.m. Adam Brock is going on. But Jim Carrey’s Daughter is not. Maybe if she’d kept her eyes open? She’s disappointed with herself. So she calls Jim Carrey, who told her that he’d been said “No” to a bunch of time. That gave Jim Carrey a great idea for his next move, “The No Man.”
8:43 p.m. Still waiting on death-by-pratfall.
8:43 p.m. Some people have a hard time taking “No.”
8:44 p.m. But things should be better with 17-year-old David Leathers Jr, who likes taking other people’s girlfriends, if memory serves. He’s impressed with the crop of ladies in Hollywood. “Idol” is trying to set David up with Joe Magrane’s daughter Shannon. I didn’t love Shannon Magrane in her audition, but her version of “Falling” here is a bit better. Also, she’s very tall. And as for David, assuming his voice doesn’t change during this competition — and since he’s 17, that may not happen — there’s no doubt why the girls the girls they love him. [RIP, Heavy D.] But what of Jessica Phillips, she of the boyfriend who’s still recovering from a stroke. Oy. Her boyfriend makes me sniffly. I wish Jessica were a bit less boring. Even she seems to know that she’s vocally good, but not remarkable, based on the random between-verse grunting.
8:49 p.m. Three people we don’t know get sent home and David, Shannon and Jessica all advance.
8:53 p.m. Waning moments! Time for drama.
8:54 p.m. Success for some Pittsburgh contestants: Erika Van Pelt has a big voice. Very big. And Creighton Fraker has a silly hat and a stridently, effectively nasally voice. Aaron Marcellus is almost certainly a character being played by Danny Glover.
8:56 p.m. The pressure is on what will probably be the last of the day. We start with Lauren Mink, who has a good name and works at a center for adults with disabilities. She does weird things to “Alone,” with even J-Lo noticing a pointless key change. Jeremy Rosado works the front desk at an infectious disease center. He sings a mumbly, but nicely low-key version of “Superstar.”
8:59 p.m. That brings us to Symone Black, a 16-year-old with a controlling stage dad. She sings “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” because she wants to reach an older crowd and, as the judges joke with Symone, she stumbles to the edge of the stage and… falls.
9:00 p.m. Ummm… Is this the first “American Idol” episode to end with a life-or-death cliffhanger? Apparently.
Who’d you like tonight?